How To Get More Rest

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You may recall that Wisdom is my ThemeWord for 2010. One area I have been seeking wisdom in is the area of sleep and finding ways to get more of it. While I get 6 to 8 hours of sleep nearly every night, I still feel like I don’t get enough.

Man Resting In Grass

This morning, I discovered that sleep may not be the real issue at all. It may be rest. At least that’s what I heard on my local NPR station, WFAE, in the hosts interview with Matthew Edlund, MD, aka The Rest Doctor. Here’s how he described the four categories of rest we all need:

  1. Physical rest. This includes things like deep breathing and simply staying still and quiet enough to pay attention to some part of your body.

  2. Mental rest. Mental rest takes place when we use mental images, like visualization, to focus the mind on things that bring us pleasure and joy.

  3. Social rest. When we are socially at rest, we are participating in brief conversations and enjoying light social interactions with people who are important to us. Social resting restores us and also helps minimize symptoms associated with depression, according to Dr. Edlund.

  4. Spiritual rest. Spiritual rest occurs when we seek a sense of meaning and a connection of some kind to something larger than yourself. This can include traditional forms of worship or the study of spiritual texts. It could also include prayer and any other activity that embraces the notion that forces outside of yourself are at work in your life.

Clearly, we need different types of rest in order to be successful professionally and socially. I did not know that! I am intrigued by these concepts, and Dr. Edlund’s book, The Power of Rest: Why Sleep Alone Is Not Enough. A 30-Day Plan to Reset Your Body (affiliate link), is getting rave reviews. I think this will be a good investment for me, and I plan to purchase my own copy soon and incorporate some of his techniques into my life — and encourage my husband and kids to do the same.

Visit Dr. Edlund’s website here.

Question: Have you been appreciating the differences between sleep and rest, and making sure you get enough of both? What techniques do you use? What tips can you share?

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